When your Dad is in ICU there is a lot of waiting time, and not a lot to do to avoid the associated worrying. Our situation was no different. Dad spent several days in ICU when incredibly difficult decisions had to be made. We tried to make decisions as a family and that in itself was tough to do with our mixed up messy family. There was my Mom, Jon, Allan, Grace and me thrown together in the face of death trying to do our best for Dad and with each other. Notably missing was my other sibling who didn’t bother to show up, call or even acknowledge what was going on...and still hasn’t several months after Dad’s death.
All those hours of waiting gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn about our lives, families and to start to make up for lost time. What a funny thing to say because of course you can’t make up for lost time but you can move forward while keeping the lost time in mind. I think that’s what we’re trying to do, no – I know that’s what we’re trying to do.
As the situation with Dad became more stressful it became apparent to all of us that we would have to start taking shifts. It just wasn’t possible for all of us to be at the hospital all the time. It was really hard to start staying away. Not being there brought up all sorts of ‘what if’s’. What if there is no one there when Dad needs something, what if he’s looking for me and I’m not there, what if when I leave it's the last time I see Dad, what if a big decision presents itself and there’s no one there to make it. What if Dad dies alone? Ultimately that was the biggest what if and one that we all thought about but didn’t talk about as a family. Jon and I talked about it endlessly, I’m sure Allan and Grace talked about it. I know my Mother worried about it more than we’ll ever know. In the end, with the grace of God that didn’t happen; Allan and Grace were at this side as he took his last breath. Life has a funny way sometimes. Dad and Allan, for whatever the complicated reasons didn’t really have each other during life but Allan was there for Dad at the end. I honestly don’t know how either of them feels about that. I’m sure Dad was comforted knowing somewhere deep inside that his son was by his side and maybe someday Allan will tell me how he feels about being there, but for now all I know is how grateful I am to know that Dad wasn’t alone and that out of one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through in the end I’ve gained an amazing guy for a brother.